South Carolina from A to Z

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From Hilton Head to Caesars Head, and from the Lords Proprietors to Hootie and the Blowfish, historian Walter Edgar mines the riches of the South Carolina Encyclopedia to bring you South Carolina from A to Z. (A production of South Carolina Public Radio.)

South Carolina from A to Z Archives (April 2011 to Sept 2014)

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"H" is for Howard, Frank James (1909-1996). Football coach. After graduating from the University of Alabama in 1931, Howard accepted a position as assistant coach at Clemson under head coach Jess Neely. When Neely departed in 1940, Howard was chosen as his replacement. As head coach, Howard directed the Clemson football program for the next thirty years (1940-1969). His teams compiled a 165-118-12 record, earned eight conference championships (two Southern, six Atlantic Coast) and appeared is six postseason bowl games.

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"H" is for Horseshoe (Columbia). Deriving its name from the U-shaped orientation of its nineteenth and early twentieth-century buildings massed around a central green space, the Horseshoe constitutes the historic heart of the University of South Carolina’s Columbia campus. It features the capital city’s greatest concentration of historic buildings. The plan for the “college grounds”—as it was then known—came from a competition in which Robert Mills submitted a design inspired by styles associated with colleges in the Northeast.  Construction began in 1803.

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"G" is for Grimké, John Faucheraud (1752-1819). Legislator, jurist. In1774, after  graduating  from, Cambridge, Grimké returned to Charleston. He organized an artillery unit for service in the Revolution and rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel. He was captured at the fall of Charleston and imprisoned by the British—but escaped and joined General Nathaniel Greene’s army.  He represented St. Philip’s and St. Michael’s (1782-1790) in the South Carolina House and served one term as Speaker. The legislature named him an associate justice of the Court of Common Pleas and General Sessions.

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"G" is for Grimké, Archibald Henry (1849-1930). Activist, scholar. Grimké was the son of Henry Grimké, a planter, and Nancy Weston, a slave. After the Civil War, Grimké enrolled in a school for former slaves whose principal arranged for him to attend Lincoln University in Pennsylvania. His academic performance came to the attention of his aunt, the abolitionist Angelina Grimké Weld who acknowledged the relationship and helped him further his education. After college he became active in politics and was appointed American consul to the Dominican Republic.

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"G" is for Gridley, Mary Putnam (1850-1939), Civic leader, businesswoman. Gridley moved to Greenville in the 1870s where her father was active in the development of cotton mills. Working as her father’s bookkeeper, she mastered the daily operations of management and administration. At his death she became the first woman in the state to become president of a textile mill. In 1889 Gridley was one of the co-founders of the Thursday Club, a study club for elite Greenville women.

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"G" is for Grice Marine Biological Laboratory. Established by the College of Charleston as the Fort Johnson Marine Biological Laboratory, its name was changed to honor the then president of the College. The laboratory, is located on James Island, on a portion of the site of old Fort Johnson—close to the end of a peninsula that juts into Charleston Harbor. State and federal laboratories involved in studies of estuarine and marine environments are also located at Fort Johnson.

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"G" is for Gressette Committee (1951-1966). In 1951, the South Carolina General Assembly created the South Carolina School Committee at the request of state senator Marion Gressette of Calhoun County. Following the filing of the Briggs v. Elliott case, which challenged the “separate but equal” policy in South Carolina’s public schools, the General Assembly created the committee to prepare for, and hopefully thwart, the possibility of federally mandated desegregation. Gressette was chairman of the fifteen-person committee.

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"H" is for Horse racing. “The Sport of Kings” emerged in South Carolina within a few decades of settlement. Before 1754, most horses were descended from stock brought to Florida by the Spanish and known as the Chicasaw breed. Horsemen later imported fine stallions and mares from England and Virginia. In Charleston races at the Washington Course coincided with a gala social season. Inland, the elegant setting and refined audience attending the racing scene at Pinewood claimed to rival that of British courses. The Civil War ended horse racing in South Carolina.

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"G" is for Gressette, Lawrence Marion (1902-1984). Legislator. Gressette represented Calhoun County in the House of Representatives from 1925-1932. He served twenty-three terms in the Senate from 1937 to 1984—representing Calhoun County until 1966. Then, after reapportionment, Senate Districts Nineteen, Eleven and Thirteen. Gressette was a long-time member of a number of influential committees, including Judiciary (1937-1984; chairman, 1953-1984) and Education (1939-1984; chairmen 1951-1956). He served as president pro tempore of the Senate from 1972 to 1984.

"C" is for Clover

May 23, 2018
South Carolina From A to Z
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"C" is for Clover (York County; 2010 population 5,137). Clover’s history goes back to the 1870s when the Chester and Lenoir Railroad placed a five thousand gallon water tank at the site of the future town. According to local legend, water spilling from the tank yielded a patch of clover on the ground—giving the town its earliest name—Clover Patch. The town was chartered in 1887, with a population of about one hundred—most of the migrants from western York County.

"C" is for Clinton

May 22, 2018
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"C" is for Clinton (Laurens County, 2010 population, 8,335). Clinton grew up around the intersection of two roads, one connecting Greenville with Columbia and the other Spartanburg with Augusta. In the 1850s, the Newberry-to-Laurens railroad ran through the intersection, resulting in the development of a town. The little community was named for Henry Clinton Young, an attorney from nearby Laurens. The town was incorporated in 1864. In 1874 Thornwell Orphanage was built to help children who lost parents during the Civil War.

"C" is for Climate

May 21, 2018
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"C" is for Climate. South Carolina’s climate is classified as humid subtropical, which is typical of middle-latitude locations situated on eastern margins of large continents. Rainfall is abundant and distributed fairly evenly throughout the year. There is seasonal variation in the temperatures ranging from hot and humid summers to mild winters with some below-freezing temperatures. Summers tend to be hot across the state. The single most important factor influencing the state’s summer weather is the Bermuda high.

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"B" is for Briggs v. Elliott (1954). Briggs v. Elliott was one of five cases, collectively entitled Brown et al. v. Board of Education of Topeka, Shawnee, KS, et al., argued before the U.S. Supreme Court by attorneys for the NAACP. Originally a lawsuit filed by twenty African American parents in Clarendon County for educational opportunities for their children, Briggs v. Elliott was the first case in the twentieth century to challenge the constitutionality of racially segregated schools. Thurgood Marshall of the NAACP represented the parents.

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"B" is for Brooks, Preston Smith (1819-1857). Congressman. Brooks attended Moses Waddel’s academy and the South Carolina College. In 1844 Edgefield District elected him to the General Assembly. During the Mexican War he served as a captain in the Palmetto Regiment. In 1852 Brooks, as a States’ Rights Democrat, was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. In 1856, during a debate, U.S. Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts denigrated South Carolina’s role in American history and insulted Senator Andrew P. Butler of South Carolina.

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"B" is for Brookgreen Gardens. The Archer M. and Anna Hyatt Huntington Sculpture Gardens at Brookgreen rests on thirty acres of display gardens in the middle of some 9,100 acres of the South Carolina lowcountry. The site is best known for its beautiful display gardens and its unrivaled American figurative sculpture collection, as well as its commitment to conservation and preservation. Ten garden “rooms” are highlighted by ponds, fountains, and sculpture set off by native plants and seasonal flowers—displayed against a tapestry of magnificent live-oaks and towering pines.

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"B" is for Brodie, Laura (1908-2004). Herpetologist. Born on a farm in Lexington County, Brodie began collecting snakes and frogs as a young child. By her teens she had converted an outbuilding into her “Rockwood Museum” where she kept cages of reptiles and amphibians. After graduating from Winthrop, she obtained a position at the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology.

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"L" is for Lynch, Kenneth Merrill, Sr. (1887-1974). Physician, educator. A native of Texas, Lynch moved to South Carolina in 1913 and became the first professor of pathology at the Medical College of South Carolina and the state’s first full-time pathologist. He is credited with discovering the first treatment for Granuloma inguinale, a venereal disease. In 1943 he became dean of the Medical College, a title the board of trustees changed to president in 1949.

"L" is for Lyman

May 10, 2018
South Carolina From A to Z
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"L" is for Lyman (Spartanburg County; 2010 population 3,261). Lyman’s early history stemmed from the economic activity of the Groce family. The area was known as Groce or Groce’s Stop until the arrival of Pacific Mills. In 1923 Pacific Mills made the largest investment in Spartanburg County up till then. The company not only erected a mill but also built a model town: 375 houses, a community center, and a twelve-room school. Churches and a National Guard Armory came later. The town was renamed Lyman in honor of Arthur T. Lyman, president of Pacific Mills (1900-1915).

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"L" is for Lynch, Thomas, Sr. (ca. 1727-1776). Legislator, delegate to the Continental Congress. A prominent planter, Lynch was active in public affairs. He was a member of the Commons House of Assembly from 1752 until 1775. From an early date he opposed British encroachment on colonial autonomy. He was a delegate to the Stamp Act Congress (1765) and a member of the Non-Importation Association (1769). As one of South Carolina’s best-known and most ardent patriots, Lynch became a great favorite of the Sons of Liberty.

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"H" is for Horry County (1,134 square miles, 2010 population, 270, 516). Horry is the largest and easternmost of South Carolina’s forty-six counties, forming a wedge between North Carolina and the Atlantic Ocean. Its geographical isolation led in the 1840s to its being referred to as the “Independent Republic of Horry.” Unsuited for either rice or cotton production, by 1860 it was the poorest county in the state. The introduction of bright leaf tobacco in the 1890s brought prosperity and linked the county’s economy to the tobacco market.

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"H" is for Horry, Peter (ca. 1743-1815). Planter, soldier, legislator. In 1775 Peter Horry was commissioned a captain in the Second South Carolina Regiment. By 1780 he commanded the Fifth South Carolina, but when it was merged with another unit, he was discharged prior to the British occupation. In the summer of 1780 he returned to service—as one of Francis Marion’s most trusted and valuable officers. After the Revolution, Horry remained in the military service of the state.

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"G" is for Gregorie, Anne King (1887-1960). Historian, teacher, author, editor. After graduating from Winthrop in 1906, Gregorie taught for a while and then spent several years working with her father. In 1925 she embarked on the process of becoming a professional historian. Within a year she earned a master’s degree from the University of South Carolina. In 1929 Gregorie became the first woman to deceive a doctorate from USC’s Department of History. While teaching at colleges in Alabama and Arkansas, she prepared her biography of Thomas Sumter for publication.

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"G" is for Gregg, William (1800-1867). Manufacturer. Industrial promoter. Gregg made his fortune as an importer of fancy goods and jewelry in Charleston. In 1844, he toured the leading manufacturing centers of the Northeast. Returning to Charleston he wrote a series of articles that evolved into a pamphlet, Essays on Domestic Industry. In these widely circulated publications, Gregg called on the South to invest in manufacturing and end its reliance on staple agriculture—and made him widely known among the South’s leading industrial advocates.

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"C" is for Cleveland School Fire (May 17, 1923). Cleveland Public School was situated in Kershaw County, six mile south of Camden. The school was housed in a two-story frame building; an auditorium (40 feet by 20 feet) was on the second floor. On May 17, 1923 the room was packed with 300 people attending graduation ceremonies and a class play. During the performance, a large oil lamp fell to the stage and ignited an intense fire. Terrified spectators rushed toward the only exit. Some persons were trampled to death and the wooden stairway collapsed.

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"C" is for Cleveland, Georgia Allen (1851-1914). Writer, activist. Georgia Allen Cleveland and her husband were noted for their generosity and charity in the Spartanburg community. Both played leading roles in the founding of Converse College. She kept a diary from 1890 to 1914 in which she chronicled life as an upper class married southern white female. Because of the richness of her entries, she left a legacy of South Carolina upcountry history that documented local, state, and regional history. Her diary is a valuable record of Victorian female domesticity from the grand to the mundane.

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"C" is for Clemson University Extension Service. The Smith-Lever Act of 1914 created the Cooperative Extension Service. The act ended the rivalry between state agricultural commissioners and land grant colleges over the administration of extension work. In its place, Smith-Lever created a partnership of federal, state, and local governments that worked to improve the quality of rural life by disseminating the latest information to farmers, homemakers, and communities.

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"W" is for Wright, Jonathan Jasper (1840-1885). Attorney, legislator, jurist. Born in Pennsylvania, Wright read law with antislavery advocate Dr. William W. Pride. In 1864 Wright took a position with the American Missionary Association teaching black soldiers stationed on the Sea Islands. He was admitted to the Pennsylvania bar in 1866, but returned to South Carolina the next year with the Freedman’s

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"W" is for Wright, Elizabeth Evelyn (1872-1906). A native Georgian, Wright enrolled as a night student at Tuskegee; she paid her tuition by working at the school during the day. Despite opposition from state and local education officials she tried to establish small industrial education schools in the lowcountry. In 1897, Wright relocated to Denmark and opened a school over a grocery store. She began raising money for what would become the Denmark Industrial Institute—modeled on her alma mater. Her most generous benefactor was Ralph Vorhees of New Jersey.

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"W" is for Wright, Alice Buck Norwood Spearman (1902-1989). Human relations activist. A graduate of Converse College, Wright taught school in South Carolina before moving to New York City. She earned a master’s degree in religious education from Columbia Teacher’s College. In 1930 she began a three-year journey around the world, attending conferences, teaching, and studying Asian culture Returning home, Wright became the first woman appointed to administer a county relief program.

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"W" is for Wragg, William (ca. 1714-1777). Loyalist. A native South Carolinian, Wragg was educated in England at Westminster, St. John’s College, Oxford, and the middle Temple. He was appointed to the Royal Council in 1753 and supported its positions in controversies with the Commons House. When Governor Lyttleton tried to appease the Commons House, Wragg vociferously defended the position of the Crown and the Council. Removed from the Council, he was elected to the Commons House.

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